Julia spends her weekend wasting time, washing laundry. She gets up early and puts on thermal underwear, blue jeans, a sweatshirt. She buys coffee at the convenience store on the corner, walks three blocks down to the dog park, repositioning her scarf after each time the wind blows it loose from her neck.
There are only two Labradors. Two Labradors and what she thinks is a mutt. When she sits, she catches all their attention, and one of the Labs and the mutt coming running her way. The Lab stops when his name is called—Rocket, good dog name, she thinks—but the mutt keeps keeping, running casually toward her, leaving himself open for other distractions, better offers. No one is calling the dog’s name.
Julia says loud enough for the mutt, but not for the people standing in a small circle holding in their hands leashes but no dogs, “Here, doggy doggy.”
The dog stops short, about 20 feet in front of her, and digs his paws into the snow. He lowers his head, and Julia watches his brown tail move back and forth, his brown eyes on hers, empty, full, empty, full, she thinks as she watches this tail.
Julia says again, “Here, doggy doggy,” and leans forward.
But then he’s off. He makes a break like he’s going to charge, but then changes paths almost as quickly as he started toward her. It’s fast and dizzying, and he’s running with long, jovial strides, practically begging her into chase.